Hillary to Meet Libyan Rebels and Netanyahu’s Illusory Peace Plan

7:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Now, in all seriousness, Madame Secretary, whom exactly are you meeting up with in Tunis…? Let’s look at the actual demographics… Even the DNI, James Clapper, flatly states that it’s probably a losing proposition…

White House Disputes Predictions that Gadhafy Will Crush Rebels

The dueling assessments of Gadhafy’s fortunes emerged as the Obama administration turned aside growing demands that it take more concerted action, including military steps, to bring down the Libyan dictator and end the bloodshed.

In Brussels, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the NATO defense ministers agreed that NATO would act in Libya “only if there is a demonstrable need, a sound legal basis, and strong regional support.”

In Washington, James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, raised new objections to imposing a no-fly zone, saying that Libya has a “substantial” air defense network, including “a large, large number” of portable, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, that would threaten U.S. and allied aircraft flying over the country. [...]

Clapper said the view of the intelligence community is “kind of a stalemate back and forth, but I think over the longer term the regime will prevail.” He acknowledged that the conflict could stagger to a close, with rebels holding parts of eastern Libya and Gadhafy still in control of Tripoli. Or Libya could shatter into fiefdoms and tribal enclaves like Somalia — a fertile incubator for Islamist extremists. [...]

[Clapper]said two elite Libyan army units, the 9th and 32nd brigades, are loyal to Gadhafy, well equipped with tanks, artillery and air defenses, and highly disciplined. They suggested that Gadhafy’s forces could hold out indefinitely even with an international arms embargo.

Gadhafy “seems to have staying power, unless some other dynamic changes at this time,” Burgess said. “Initially, the momentum was with the other side. That has started to shift. Whether or not it has fully moved to Gadhafy’s side at this time I think is not clear.” But the initiative, he said, “may actually be on the regime side at this time.”

Early on in this sordid Libyan affair, a Gorilla Guides’ member noted that this would devolve into a full-scale ‘civil war’…! He was right…! I trained with the 10th SFG and I wanted to point out this excellent diary from Col. Pat Lang’s blog and the sad shape they’re in…

#Libya – De Opresso Liber

…I’m certain there are SFODAs (SF Operational Detachment Alpha) that have planned and trained for employment in Libya to support guerilla operations. But given our decade long preoccupation with Iraq and Afghanistan, those teams may not be immediately available or not immediately ready to move into Libya. On the other hand, I’m sure there are teams with Arabic and desert training ready to go in the 3rd, 5th or 10th Groups. The headquarters for the operation would probably be in Stuttgart, Germany where EUCOM, AFRICOM and, conveniently enough, 1st Battalion, 10th SFGA are located. An assessment/ command team should be immediately inserted into Benghazi to make contact with the Libyan resistance. In a previous post I alluded to the difficulty and criticality of this initial contact. How this team will be received is unknown. However, I am getting the impression that the resistance forces initial euphoria is being tempered by the realization that they have a difficult struggle ahead of them. This assessment team will serve as liaison to the resistance leadership and a command element to the SFODAs to follow. The assessment team will determine the size, abilities and needs of the resistance fighting forces and relay this information to Stuttgart so the SFODAs can properly prepare for their insertion. The ODAs will be in isolation intensively preparing for their insertion and mission execution.

An ODA can usually train, advise and/or lead a battalion to regimental size force. In addition to a couple of ODAs in Benghazi organizing the main resistance forces, I would insert an ODA each in Zawiyah and Misrata to shore up the resistance in those areas. I could envision SF troops working to break up armored assaults by Qathafi’s forces on these two areas while using the resistance forces for supporting fires similar to the Hizbollah regulars did in the last dust up in Lebanon. Holding these two areas would keep pressure on Qathafi and give time for the main resistance forces around Benghazi to organize. As I write this, I am watching a report of former Libyan soldiers in the Benghazi area preparing captured equipment and training youths for military action so things are already moving in the right direction. The ODAs can also direct any air or naval support that may or may not be available. That would be a tremendous force multiplier and would IMHO pretty much guarantee that Qathafi’s forces would not be able to overrun the resistance. The taking of Tripoli will still be a tough nut to crack. The SF troops could ensure that the final battle is done smartly and with patience rather than seeing an angry armed mob just surging toward the palace and getting themselves slaughtered.

I suppose there’s always the 82nd Airborne…!

Anybody remember my note about a SAS team being recently accosted…? Qaddafi controls the roads folks, and, he’s not about to relinquish control over them…! It takes months, if not longer, to train ragtag troops to maneuver properly… As if on cue, Al Jazeera posts this timely YouTube clip… Gaddafi forces mount onslaught… Btw, the BBC has an updated map of the facts on the ground, and, what each side has available…

Now, Enough babble…

What is the common denominator linking proposed solutions for the housing market and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? In both cases, it’s all just talk. Bibi believes that words replace deeds, and he puts what we say ahead of what we do. His attempts to mitigate international pressure on Israel by promising a “path-breaking” speech in a few weeks, either before the U.S. Congress, or at the annual AIPAC conference. The key element is that it be delivered in Washington. Why? Is the Knesset insufficiently distinguished for his taste?

At the same time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, increasingly eccentric with each public appearance, claimed in interviews with Arieh Golan on Israel Radio and with the Wall Street Journal that Israel needs $20 billion in additional aid, in view of the volatile situation that has developed in the region. Implicitly, this call for more dollars is a precondition for presenting a “daring plan” to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dan Halperin, a former diplomat in Washington and an expert on U.S.-Israel relations, says that Bibi and Barak have forgotten a well-known American saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. In view of the Americans’ disappointment after Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech, only acts of substance will impress them and the rest of the world. They’ve heard enough speeches.

Ironically, I must say that this marks a milestone, in that, I actually agree with Mark Halperin, mark this day on the calendar, folks…! Btw, I do wonder if Bibi’s ‘dramatic speech’ will be delivered in front of Congress or AIPAC’s annual convention(what’s the difference)…?

Anyhow, as the Jpost said today…

‘Next 6 months crucial for resumption of negotiations’

UK ambassador says Egyptian politicians may use anti-Israel rhetoric to win voters, creating dangerous situation for Israel.

…”If the peace process continues to be completely stuck as neighboring countries go into elections to determine their new political shape, those elections will effectively become auctions for who could be more critical of Israel, and I think that’s extremely dangerous,” he said.

“As someone representative of a country that really cares about Israel’s security and position in the region, the last thing we want to see is elections in the region turning into who-could-be-more-critical- of-Israel competitions. The way to avoid that is to have progress with the talks.”

Gould said the next six months would be pivotal to the prospects of resurrecting talks between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority that have been stalled for more than two years.

“September is going to be extremely difficult, because you have the deadline that Obama set out for UN representation for the Palestinians,” he said. “If there is no progress by then we’ll be in trouble.”

I smell trouble brewing then, so does Jonathan Cook…

Netanyahu’s Illusory Peace Plan

Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisers conceded last week that the Israeli prime minister is more downcast than they have ever seen him. The reason for his gloominess is to be found in Israel’s diplomatic and strategic standing, which some analysts suggest is at its lowest ebb in living memory.

Netanyahu’s concern was evident at a recent cabinet meeting, when he was reported to have angrily pounded the table. “We are in a very difficult international arena,” the Haaretz newspaper quoted him telling ministers who wanted to step up settlement-building. “I suggest we all be cautious.”

A global survery for Britain’s BBC published on Monday will have only reinforced that assessment: Israel was rated among the least popular countries, with just 21 per cent seeing it in a positive light. [...]

Netanyahu reportedly intends to unveil his peace plan during a visit to Washington, currently due in May. But on Monday Ehud Barak, his defence minister, added to the pressure by warning that May was too late. “This is the time to take risks in order to prevent international isolation,” he told Israel Radio.

But, assuming Netanyahu does offer a peace plan, will it be too little, too late?

Few Israeli analysts appear to believe that Netanyahu has had a real change of heart.

“At this point it’s all spin designed to fend off pressures,” Yossi Alpher, a former director of the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, wrote for the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue website Bitterlemons. “The object of the exercise is to gain a day, or a week, or a month, before having to come up with some sort of new spin.”

Indications are that Netanyahu will propose a miserly interim formula for a demilitarised Palestinian state in temporary borders. The Jerusalem Post reported that in talks with Abbas late last year Netanyahu demanded that Israel hold on to 40 per cent of the West Bank for the forseeable future. [...]

His plan accords with a similar interim scheme put forward by Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s far-right foreign minister and chief political rival on the right.

Palestinians insist on a deal on permanent borders, saying Israel would use anything less as an opportunity to grab more land in the West Bank. At the weekend Abbas reiterated his refusal to accept a temporary arrangement.

Bibi, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place…! Maybe you can do something ‘dramatic’, but, stringing together mere words and phrases on the floor of the US House won’t cut it…!

*gah*